Administrative Reforms of Salar Jung

  • Salar Jung was born on January 2nd 1829, and the age of 13, his ancestral title Salar Jung was conferred on him. It was with this title he later became well known to the British although he was popularly known to the natives with his other title Mukhtar-ul- Mulk. At the outset of his career he realized that the main cause for the preventing chaotic condition of Hyderabad was due to a complete collapse of the Agriculture economy, This was the crucial period in the history of the State of Hyderabad as the State underwent a great many changes during this period transforming the medieval Hyderabad into modern State.
  • When Salar Jung was appointed as the Dewan the revenue administration was in deplorable condition and the finances of the State were at the verge of collapse. The revenue collection was more or less on the Amani System of farming out areas on contract basis. The higher bidder was empowered with the authority to impose and collect the tax which as a matter of practice was often levied with least regard to the paying capacity of cultivators. Very often the Taluqdars and contractors used harsh and cruel methods to collect tax revenues and whatever was collected was not remitted fully in the treasury.
  • To retrieve this loathsome situation Salar Jung launched on a policy of a series of reforms most of which were directed towards the welfare of the ryot. As a first step he abolished the system of farming out the revenue of the State. Gradually, he dismissed the big talukdars, and in their place appointed district officers at fixed salaries to collect the revenue. This measure brought the government into direct contact with the ryot. Each field was separately measured and assessed accordingly.The harvester was allowed to dispose of his crop at his pleasure. The abominable systems of Taqdama and Battai were abolished.
  • Salar Jung during the period of Premiership and Regency (1853-1883) introduced important reforms in the State on a large scale and worked sincerely and tirelessly for the welfare and prosperity of the State. The measures adopted and the reforms introduced by him changed the fate of the State. It was only the genius, tact and diplomatic ability of Salar Jung I that saved the State from annexation and ruin.


  • As Salar Jung was introducing reforms in the State in various fields of administration he required capable, competent and suitable persons to carry out the reforms and handle the new administration of the State. It is true that the persons were available locally who had the experience of traditional administration and to carry out the traditional business of the State only. Such persons were not suitable to entrust important responsibilities in new administrative set up. Salar Jung was in need of such persons who were trained in British India in Finance, Revenue, and Judicial and Educational administration to hold key and important posts in the new administration of the Hyderabad State. As such Salar-Jung called for capable and experienced men for this purpose from other parts of the country especially from North India. In this connection he contacted Sir Syed Ahmed Khan many times and asked him to suggest the names of some experienced North Indians who could deal with matters relating to Finance, Revenue, Judiciary and Education. He promised that the invited persons would be provided with a suitable job with a handsome salary and he also made it clear that the caste or religion of persons would not be enquired about.

  1) Administrative Reforms

  • Divided the State of Nizam into 5 Subhas, and 17 Districts. These districts were divided into Talukas and each Talukh had governing officers Ex: A Subedar to each Subha, Avval Talkadars (Collector) to district and Tahasildar to Taluka.
  • For an effective administration, Salarjung de-centralised administration into 14 Departments like police, revenue etc
  • Salarjung appointed youngsters as ministers and established a board called “Majlis-e-malguzari” to protect talukadar system(The district or estate ruled by a Taluqdar was known as talukdari. Large land holders were appointed as Taluqdars over a number of villages during the Mughal era. ) of administration in 1865.
  • In 1868, he constituted “Sadar Ul Mahath” and appointed four ministers and allotted portfolios like Police, Law, Revenue to the first three Ministers. The 4th minister was given portfolio of social welfare, education, health and local bodies. These Ministers worked under the central Government guidelines.

2)Economic Reforms

  • Salarjung took various reforms in minimizing the expenditure and found the resources to enrich the State treasury. Salarjung removed employees and cancelled their posts as they did not have any work(decreased financial deficit )
  • Salarjung extended his co-operation to the British(Sepoy Mutiny,1857) and the British were satisfied with his activities and released Rayachur, Osmanabad which were occupied by the British in 1853. The British also cancelled Nizam’s dues of Rs. 50 Lakhs. With such activities and favours to the British Nizam financial position stabilized.

3) Revenue Reforms

  • In those days, the contractors were the middle men between the Government and the farmers who used to pay taxes. The contractors exploited the innocent farmers. Salarjung observed this system of middle men and completely changed it. He made a new revenue policy called “Zilla Bandi” Policy(According to this policy. Salarjung divided the Nizam state into 17 revenue districts – Each district is governed by a subedar who was responsible for the collection of land taxes)
  • In 1864, Salarjung constituted a “Revenue Board”, Board was authorized to tax agriculture, business, export and import, stamp duty, roads and local bodies. It was cancelled and constituted Revenue Ministry in 1868.
  • Later he introduced new Ryothwari Policy and established direct link to farmers with the Government. The farmers were given rights on their lands. Inaam land system was cancelled and land taxation for every 30 years was introduced. Agricultural lands were measured, boundaries were settled and recoded carefully. Land tax was decided which was to be renewed every 30 years based on area of cultivation and the area of land. Land tax was allowed to pay either in cash or grains. In 1875 Salarjung established survey settlement department of survey land. He cancelled Inaams to government employees and paid salaries to them.

4) Law Reforms

  • Courts were established at Taluka level and district level.
  • Public were allowed to appeal the district courts judgements to the higher court namely, “Adalath-E-Padushahe” in Hyderabad with a chief justice and four judges. This court was empowered to punish the criminals with the exception of death sentence and life time imprisonment. Serious punishments like removal of body parts were abolished and the convicted were punished with severe imprisonment.

5) Educational Reforms

  • He paid much attention to start schools and educational institutions in the state. His secretary Sayyed Hussain Bilgrami helped Salarjung in improving education. In 1855 during fourth Nizam Nasiruddaula, he established “Daarul salaam” a higher educational institute and introduced western educational system where Arabic, Urdu and English were taught. He introduced English medium schools.
  • He introduced the following schools-
    • City High School in 1870.
    •  Chadarghat High School in 1872
    • Gloria girls high school in 1881.
  • In 1870 he established “an engineering college” and trained many as technical experts in Hyderabad state.
  • Thus Salarjung helped the people to become intellectuals.

6) Police Reforms

  • He applied a police superintendent (SP) to each district for effective policing in the district, an Inspector to every two small Talukas combined, an Inspector to big talukas and sufficient police personnel in the district for a peaceful society.
  • Emphasized on Police training.
  • Not only Salarjung worked hard for effective policing but also he made rules and guidelines regarding their powers and duties. He divided the police officers based on their ability and behavior into different categories and decided their pay emoluments.
  • Merit was given importance in promotions. The scheme of giving “auxiliaries promotions” based on merit and ability is still continuing in police department now-a-days also.

7) Currency Reforms

  • Salarjung took steps to control mints. In 1885, he established government mints in Hyderabad, a central treasury in Hyderabad and local treasuries in districts. Before 1858 the Nizam coins had the name of Mughal emperor. Salarjung removed Mughl’s name and printed name of the Nizam Nawab on coins. He also printed “New Hal-sikka”(Standard Currency) coins. With these reforms, Nizams financial conditions had improved.
  • In 1861 Salarjung established stamp paper office in Hyderabad. It regulated the usage of stamp papers.

8) Transport Reforms

  • Salarjung worked hard for the development of roads and railways with the help of the British.
  • He linked Hyderabad with most of the main towns. In 1870, the government and British signed an agreement called an “Chanda Railway Agreement” to build railway line between Madras and Bombay via Hyderabad, Wadi and Gulbarga. As a part of this, the first railway line between Secunderabad and Vadi was completed in 1878.
  • He built roadway between Hyderabad and Sholapur.
  • Salarjung established public works department to provide transport facilities. It provided many road ways to all districts from Hyderabad and thereby developed and increased business.

9) Other Reforms

  •  Salarjung made strong reforms to control anti social elements in the society. He abolished social evils like “Sathi Sahagamanam” in the Hyderabad Society.  He started industrial exhibition in Chandarghat. It has been continuing till date.  He gave importance to English also and published news papers in English Language.  He gave jobs to the persons with ability and skill and at the same time he punished corrupt employees. Conclusion
  • When Hyderabad Kingdom was in a critical situation, Salarjung occupied the highest post of the Prime Minister and rendered better services for the welfare of the people and won more laurels than even Nizam ruler.
  • Salarjung had extended priceless service for the development of Hyderabad Kingdom. He brought life to the declining economic system in 1853 through his economic reforms. As a result of the policies adopted by him, novel changes, progress in education, and modernization took place during Nizam rule. The administrative mechanism was strengthened. Wahid Khan appreciated Salarjung as one of the most outstanding statesmen among Indian rulers of 19th century
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